Lives on the line - the new technology saving valuable time

12 July 2017

A new emergency mobile call system is being credited with having a significant impact in getting help where it’s needed faster.

The new caller location system for 111 mobile calls was introduced just two months ago, after Vodafone and other mobile network operators teamed up with a host of organisations including MBIE, and Emergency Service providers.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne applauded the collaboration.

“It’s a fantastic example of the public and private sectors working together to better serve New Zealanders,” Mr Dunne said.

The system automatically provides emergency services with the probable location of a caller when they dial 111 from a mobile phone, enabling police, fire and ambulance services to respond more quickly.

Police Minister Paula Bennett said it’s become a vital tool for emergency services.

“The new system has been vital in helping to identify the location of callers in instances where the caller hasn’t been able to speak, where the call has been cut-off before the operator could get more information about the caller’s location or where the caller doesn’t know their exact whereabouts,” Mrs Bennett said.

More than 145,000 genuine 111 calls have since been made, and around 20 per cent involved operators using it to get more accurate information on where the caller was.

Examples included a tramping group lost in the Bay of Plenty.

One member was injured and they had no food or water. Their only phone had a low battery, but they managed to get a call out to 111, which saw the call taker able to pinpoint their location down to a six-metre radius. Police Search and Rescue safely walked them out of the bush just a couple of hours later. Prior to the new system, they may have been forced to spend a night in the bush.

Communications Minister Simon Bridges said the system also has fast tracked help to a motorcycle crash victim, a person who spotted a fire in a rural area, and people experiencing medical emergencies.

This solution sees New Zealand leading the way in emergency response systems, alongside the United Kingdom and other European countries,” Mr Bridges said.

Lives on the line - the new technology saving valuable time